NSE, stakeholders favour PPP to bridge Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit
… Nigeria’s maiden infrastructure monitor app debuts … as an expert says 6% Nigerian children have a chance to prosper
The need for Nigeria to fully embrace the public-private partnership (PPP) model to bridge its infrastructure deficit was further emphasised in Abuja by speakers and other notable stakeholders that attended the 2021 Infrastructure Summit organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) yesterday.
The 2021 summit, which was held at the NICON Luxury Hotel Abuja and coordinated by the NSE Engineering Indices and Infrastructure Report Card Committee, chaired by Ademola Olorunfemi, former president of NSE, was attended by MDAs, financial institutions, professional bodies, private sector players, academics and development finance institutions with mandates on infrastructures.
Welcoming the participants on Thursday, Olorunfemi listed the benefits of the ongoing 2021 Nigeria’s Infrastructure Report to include the provision of comprehensive assessment on current infrastructure conditions and needs, assigning of grades and making recommendations on how to raise grades; helping policymakers to make choices and investment decisions with respect to infrastructure development towards accelerating economic development and the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan; encouraging government at all levels to develop strategies for the implementation of the overall development of Nigeria’s infrastructure, and solving the dearth of data and verifiable information to guide sustainable infrastructure development, maintenance, and management, among others.
“The above highlights and incidents buttress the need for the convocation of the National Infrastructure Summit with the theme: Towards a sustainable infrastructure development maintenance and management in Nigeria ”, Olorunfemi said.
In his opening remarks, Babagana Mohammed, president of, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) said a cursory review of infrastructure in this country, maintenance, and management revealed vivid challenges that needed deliberate and pragmatic solutions and actions to address them.
He listed other challenges to include unclear and conflicting infrastructure goals and objectives at the federal, state, and local government levels, uncertain and unambiguous regulatory frameworks, inefficient and ineffective delivery of infrastructure resulting in staggering infrastructure deficit and skills gap running into trillion of dollars.
“ It is my fervent hope that at the end of the summit, we will draw out actionable recommendations that will adequately and appropriately guide government policies on infrastructure development, maintenance, and management in Nigeria”, Mohammed said.
The NSE President, Babagana Mohammed, shortly afterward launched Nigeria’s maiden infrastructure monitoring app. The app allows every Nigerian to report the quality of infrastructure across Nigeria in real-time, with pictures and the geographic coordinates of the locations.
The first guest lecturer, Joe Amadi-Echendu, a professor at the Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa emphasised why infrastructure was primordial to Nigeria’s economic growth saying there was a need to raise infrastructure as a percentage of GDP which presently was about 25 percent to 75 percent by 2043.
He advised governments at all levels to discontinue the build, abandon and rebuild mindset, by focusing more on the implementation enablers because presently, Nigeria was ranked poorly on some of the global infrastructure metrics.
According to Amadi-Echendu, Nigeria scored 0.36 on the Human Capital Index(HCI). The country also scored 0.539 on Human Capital Index (HCI), while it scored 0.31 on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The composite form of these formulas gave Nigeria a score of 0.06 or 6 percent.
“By implication, there is a 6 percent chance that a child born in Nigeria today will be reasonably educated, live a healthy life, prosper and live long, within an environment that is safe and sustainable”, Amadi-Echendu said.
Another guest speaker, Femi Akintunde, CEO Alpha Mead Group, listed areas inadequate infrastructure has affected the quality of wellbeing of Nigerians to include healthcare service delivery, education, transportation and logistics, telecommunications among others.
He further stated that the ongoing scorecard was meant to drive Nigeria’s infrastructure revolution having in mind objectives such as the grading system, guidance for policymakers, resource allocation, and enhancement of competition.
According to him, some of the rating criteria that would be employed during the production of the scorecard report included capacity and adequacy to meet current and future needs; funding; future provision; operations and maintenance; public safety; innovation, and resilience.
“The 15 infrastructure categories are in two groups- social and economic. Social infrastructure categories include education, culture & tourism; sports, housing, health, water resources, waste management, law & security, and emergency response.
“The economic categories include electricity, oil and gas, transportation, aviation, agriculture, and information, communication, and technology (ICT)”, Akintunde said.
The panel discussion on public-private partnership (PPP) was chaired by Iyiola Omisore, a senator and former deputy governor of Osun State. Discussants, all renowned engineers, included Amanzie Okorie who represented the DG of ICRC; Ameachi Alozie who represented the DG of BPE; Salisu Daura who represented FAAN, and George Okoroma, president, Association of Consulting Engineers (ACEN). They all agreed that a serious nation would not joke with its infrastructure; PPP was the most viable way to bridge the infrastructure deficit in the country, and that MDAs alone lacked the capacity to execute PPP projects. The NSE promised to release a communiqué that captures the resolutions of all the panel discussions.